Fruits, herbs and spices have been shown to have specific anti-inflammatory effects, which may explain their health benefits. Evidence suggests that certain components of fruits, herbs and spices are able to cause a reduction in the levels of the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-6 and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, reduce levels of cyclooxygenase-2 and nitric oxide synthase, and at the same time may increase production of the anti-inflammatory IL-10. In studies, significant anti-inflammatory effects have been observed in chili peppers, allspice, basil, bay leaves, black pepper, licorice, nutmeg, oregano, sage and thyme. Individual components of these foods including apigenin, capsaicin, rosmarinic acid, chrysin, diosmetin, kämpferol, luteolin, naringenin, quercetin and resveratrol also displayed significant anti-inflammatory effects. A diet high in fruits and vegetables may therefore significantly improve health due to a general anti-inflammatory effect the reduces the development of disease.
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